Dubai – MENA Herald:  Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone entity of Dubai, recently, organised a forum for its customers from the logistics sector at the Technopark Complex. The Forum was attended by senior officials from leading companies in this sector, Jafza management and Free Zone partner entities.

Logistics is one of the most important industries in Jafza due to its strategic location between the Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport. Jafza is home to 294 companies from 28 countries that mainly reach the Middle East and Africa region, West Asia, CIS and Indian Subcontinent.

HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) stressed on the advantages of Jafza as an ideal platform for the logistics sector.

HE Bin Sulayem said, “The transport and logistics sector in the UAE is supported by its strategic location, infrastructure of global standards and the absence of bureaucratic procedures. These factors have played a crucial role in the development of this sector. Mega events such as the Expo Dubai 2020 and World Cup in Qatar, too, will present tremendous opportunities for the sector.

“The planned railway linking GCC network is also expected to add a new dimension to regional transport network. This will have a strong impact on the existing players in the logistics sector.”

HE Bin Sulayem highlighted that PCFC aims to increase its logistics capacity over the next few years to play a leading role in terms of facilitating international trade. Through the development of ports and facilities, PCFC will be suited to accommodate the projected rise driven by industrial and commercial activities, growing retail, tourism and hospitality sectors.

He said, “The logistics industry is rich with new opportunities and a promising future in the long-term due to the increasing intra-regional trade and the spread of e-commerce. We attribute this to the incentives and services that Jafza provides; most notably the Logistics Corridor which links sea, land and air. The corridor links Jafza with Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport; thus supporting companies in shipping goods between the port and the airport in record time. This is a vital element in the promotion of non-oil trade of Dubai and raising the emirate’s logistics efficiency to four times. This is ably backed by our e-services ‘Dubai Trade’ that serves as a platform for the online services of our stakeholders and provides a streamlined flow of services designed around customer needs and targets at customer satisfaction.

Speaking as the key note address during the customer forum on the sector’s growth in the Free Zone, Ibrahim Mohammed AlJanahi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Jafza and Chief Commercial Officer, EZW, said, “The Logistics sector in Jafza posted 2.2 million metric tonnes (MT) trade volume in Jafza in 2014 as against 1.9 million MT in 2013. Multinational companies are selecting Jafza as home for their regional operations.”

Phil Showering, Chief Operating Officer for Mohebi Logistics, one of the leading logistics service providers headquartered in Jafza said, “Due to strong consumer demand in the UAE’s home market and a growing requirement from the US and European brands to enter the UAE as part of our growth strategy, we have increased our capacity for retail logistics and services to the FMCG temperature controlled market by over 40% in 2014.”

He added, “Dubai and Jebel Ali Port continue to consolidate their positions as the premier first port of entry to the GCC. The interconnectivity with Saudi Arabia, the largest market, with ease of online customs processing and competitive pricing with high frequency sea and air services, make Jafza the natural hub.”

The forum discussed the means available to facilitate the practice of business operations for companies operating in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, including giving more simplicity and providing an ideal environment for the management of operations. Jafza officials also briefed clients on the various initiatives taken by the Free Zone in this regard during the current year. The highlights of the year have been the re-launch of the Jafza mobile app — providing commercial and administrative services from anywhere — and the launch of the ‘Jafza Community portal’, a web portal by Jafza for customers to develop new partnerships with each other and build a network of relationships within the free zone.

The Forum was attended by the elite of the leading companies in the market such as CPL Logistics, ATC Shipping, GAC Logistics, Palmon, Landmark along with a number of senior management of Jafza including Talal Al Hashimi, Chief Operations Officer of EZW, and representatives of DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Chamber, Trakhees, Dubai Exports, and the Port and Free Zone Security and a number of Jafza strategic partners who answered all the customer queries.

The Forum concluded with a consensus on the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors and companies of all sizes to achieve double digit growth of this sector in order to meet the expected demand for logistics services, including opening the door to other opportunities in the region.

The Forum is part of Jafza’s initiative to promote effective communication between industry leaders and Free Zone to explore business and investment opportunities for the advancement of the sector at the local and regional levels. The Forum also provides an opportunity for the management of Jafza and customers to engage in a comprehensive dialogue to find optimum appropriate solutions to take advantage of emerging opportunities and ways to promote growth in the concerned industry sectors, in addition to discussing and exchanging experiences on best international practices.